On Saturday evening (December 3), Dae Dae checked in at Atlanta’s Vinyl as one-fourth of the Birth of a New Nation Tour, alongside PNB Rock, London On Da Track, and Shy Glizzy. Interestingly enough, Glizzy didn’t end up performing although the host previously stated that he was ready and waiting downstairs in the artist area. Still, it mattered none, because it was Dae Dae’s night at home.
Since the turn of the millennium, Georgia’s capital city has been known for churning out young talent, nurturing and spitting these artists out for the world’s consumption. There was a reluctant acceptance at first, but that eventually gave way to the press of anxious execs leaning on the effervescent sound that grew legs in an increasingly digital market.
These young artists are intent on breaking through to a national platform but it’s truly rare to see someone like Dae Dae, a native of one of the roughest parts of the city, find his niche in less than a year. Roughly 12 months ago, the 23-year-old dropped his first song ever and by spring of 2016 “What U Mean (Aye, Aye, Aye)” built enough momentum to take flight for the summer. His debut mixtape 4 Reasons, was simply insurance, sealing the deal just in case rap fans felt he had no follow-up. In that same time, he signed to Lyor Cohen’s 300 Entertainment, home of Young Thug and Fetty Wap, and hasn’t been home for too many stretches since.
So Saturday was a momentous occasion, and it was treated as such. PNB Rock satisfied the shrieking girls in attendance but opening artists like Money Makin’ Nique and Mauie the King Jr., though immensely talented, had a hard time getting the audience involved. Dancers took the stage all night, passionately punching the air at every bass drop, hitting flips and spastic ticks as the crowd awaited Dae Dae’s arrival.
Approximately two hours after the small venue opened its doors, the rapper mobbed through the crowd with at least 35 people. Fans flocked to the far side of Vinyl where Dae had perched himself in a sectioned-off area. Camera flashes followed as he stood for five minutes, grinning and talking with his team, almost enveloped in the cloud of faces and bodies that were joining the mob. Then he headed to the stage, with the crowd trailing behind him.
“If you got more than a thousand dollars in your pocket, say ‘Spend that sh-t!’,” the DJ shouted, setting up the play for Dae Dae, who jumped in with his latest, ”Spend It.” He popped back and forth onstage and his blue-tinted hair whipped around, keeping the rhythm. He was comfortable and the energy floated through the previously uncooperative crowd of high school and college kids.
London On Da Track inserted his set in the middle of the rapper’s, which worked out well because after running through his platinum-plated productions with everyone from Rich Homie Quan to T.I., he and Dae Dae were able to perform their collaborative effort, “Woke Up.” There were a couple more flexed-up dedications to his “new Wraith sitting outside” and other markings of tangible success, and it was back to Dae Dae. He moved into “Dej Loaf,” girls and guys alike bobbled up and down to the synth-heavy offering from Nitti Beatz.
The music stopped and Dae shook his head. The gilded cuffs on his locks glistened. “I want y’all to meet my kids...” he said. A little girl rested against his side. She looked to be about 8 years old. “This the one I always be rapping about all the time. She changes Pampers... She do everything. Shout out to my little girl.” Then he called for another child.
“My second son, Junior...,” he said, smiling. Dae Dae brought two more babies out onstage and named a characteristic for each (“He eat everything in the house...,” “This the one that look like my daddy...”). He introduced his kids to a crowd of virtual strangers, but one can imagine that he felt like sharing his family because essentially, he was at home.
“Who in here got a family to feed, man?” he started. “Christmas coming up and these kids want everything.” One beat later, Dae Dae snarled the opening lines to “What U Mean” and the crowd bounced all the way through to the hook, screaming “Got a family to feed, got a family to feed...” After one phenomenal year, Dae Dae is well on his way to making sure that his family is more than straight. He’s got the fans to prove it.